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Ask a 4- or 5-year-old what they want to be when they grow up and many of them will tell you they want to be a doctor. But often, the harsh realities of time and finances make this dream improbable if not impossible for many.
The New Horizons Medical Foundation wants to change that for Owen County residents who are seeking a career as a doctor, nurse, physical therapist or careers in a number of other medical fields in an effort to increase those trained to provide services right here in the community.
“What better way to increase our services than to increase the number of local residents trained to provide them?” John Ashcraft, chairman of the foundation, said.
When the foundation was formed eight years ago, the group decided then that putting aside funds for loans/scholarships was an important part of its mission. The foundation earmarked $50,000 for the New Horizons Medical Foundation Student Loan Fund.
As of last fall, $42,000 had been distributed to local residents as a loan with conditions that allow the funds to become a scholarship.
For each full year the loan recipient works in Owen County within their medical profession, NHMF will forgive 20 percent of the loan balance. Five years of local employment results in the loan being completely forgiven.
Programs currently eligible for loans include: licensed practical nurse; registered nurse, nurse practitioner, physician, medical technician, pharmacist, paramedic, physical therapist, assistant physical therapist, occupational therapist, assistant occupational therapist, speech therapist and assistant speech therapist.
Since its inception, funding has been provided for emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurses and pharmacists. Two county residents who have utilized the funding remain employed in the county health system. Three others are in training or in school and several more have repaid or they are repaying their loans.
To qualify, students must:
• Be an Owen County resident at the time of application;
• Maintain a 2.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale;
• Maintain a course load of at least 12 credit hours. Students who drop below this level will have that semester’s payment pro-rated proportionally;
• Sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the loan.
Loans carry an interest rate of 6 percent per year. Interest begins to accrue when the student completes their course of study or leaves school. Repayment of the loan begins six months from the date the student is no longer in school and will be spread over a five-year period.
For more information about the scholarship program or to download an application, go to www.newhorizonsmedicalfoundation.org/Educational_Assistance.html